From [TBC] To The Polar Lands - Rolling Russia / "Near Abroad" News Thread

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Late in the year to be starting a rolling news thread but plenty of news around.

New law to limit foreign ownership of media outlets to 20%, down from 50%, proposed, likely to strengthen pro-government sources:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/23/us-russia-media-idUSKCN0HI1U120140923

Fairly large anti-war protests in Moscow last week:

http://rt.com/news/189472-moscow-opposition-march-ukraine/

Depressingly, polling suggests that Putin might actually be winning back support from 'liberal' Moscow and St Petersburg, though - traditionally the only real focal points for opposition. How long that will last if rouble continues to decline remains a question.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky has formed a new political platform in exile and says that he'd be willing to lead Russia, if called upon. For the record, i would also be willing to lead Russia if called upon and would estimate my chances of it actually happening to be roughly the same. Note the shift from "oligarch" to "tycoon" in the western press over the last few years.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/21/mikhail-khodorkovsky-breaks-political-silence-prepared-lead-russia

In other exile news, Saakashvili now lives in Williamsburg and is still kind of a dick:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/20/world/europe/mikheil-saakashvili-georgias-ex-president-plots-return-from-williamsburg-brooklyn.html?_r=1

In other oligarch news, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, owner of Bashneft, and one of the richest men in Russia is still under house arrest:

http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/750974

Seen by some as a warning shot to oligarchs to think twice about trying a 'palace coup' vs Putin to head off further economic losses. More likely a warning shot to the west that tightening the vice on Russia's economy with sanctions might be met with further moves to consolidate Kremlin control domestically.

Speculation that Russia has signed a $10bn agreement with South Africa to build nuclear power stations, denied for the moment by the SA government.

The most popular foreign leader, according a poll of Ukrainians, is...Alexander Lukashenko!Despite widely being thought of, in Russia, and the west, as a moron, Lukashenko has played both sides pretty well in the Ukraine crisis and is apparently gaining popularity in Belarus. idk if his wife is still under house arrest.

http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2014/09/23/7038653/

Gulnara Karimova has hired a UK-based PR company to highlight her own house arrest in Tashkent. Still a really weird situation.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-29251609

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Wednesday, 24 September 2014 10:17 (three years ago) Permalink

ShariVari for president of Russia, I support

, Wednesday, 24 September 2014 12:03 (three years ago) Permalink

Depressingly, polling suggests that Putin might actually be winning back support from 'liberal' Moscow and St Petersburg

polling by whom? given that the media is coming more closely under kremlin control, how reliable can these conclusions be?

busted (art), Wednesday, 24 September 2014 12:55 (three years ago) Permalink

Polling conducted by the Levada Center is generally thought to be fairly reliable outside of Russia. They are independent of government and tracked Putin's decline in popularity before he bounced back up.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Wednesday, 24 September 2014 13:47 (three years ago) Permalink

Sanctions starting to hit Muscovites where it hurts:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-25/sushi-bubble-pops-for-moscow-middle-class-as-ruble-drops.html

Fish costs jumped 30 percent in the past month, according to Dve Palochki’s Sukhochev. Customers at the 40-restaurant chain, which uses 15 tons of salmon a month, also have complained about the pale color of the Chilean salmon, he said. Sukhochev plans to roll out a new menu next month that will pass some of the added costs on to consumers.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Thursday, 25 September 2014 07:20 (three years ago) Permalink

Feel like this is a good thread to link to this http://mariaturchenkova.com/projects/putins-rule/

, Thursday, 25 September 2014 11:45 (three years ago) Permalink

The series from Dagestan on her site is very good.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Thursday, 25 September 2014 11:50 (three years ago) Permalink

New report on political prisoners in Uzbekistan.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/26/thousands-jailed-uzbekistan-politically-motivated-charges

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Friday, 26 September 2014 05:36 (three years ago) Permalink

The Prosecutor General has requested that Bashneft be returned to state control:

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/sep/26/russian-oligarch-vladimir-yevtushenkov-stake-bashneft-oil-seized

Yevtushenkov, who was previously the 15th richest Russian with a net worth of £5.5bn, according to Forbes Russia, was unexpectedly charged with money laundering and embezzlement earlier this month. The accusations relate to his 80% stake in Bashneft, acquired over almost a decade from structures controlled by Ural Rakhimov, who has been placed under an international search warrant. Rakhimov initially purchased Bashneft in 2003 from the government of Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan, which was at that time led by his father.

Yevtushenkov’s case has been labelled “Yukos 2.0” by the business community and likened to the case against oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose leading Yukos oil company was broken up and absorbed by state energy champion Rosneft after he was sent to prison for a decade in 2003. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has denied the case is politically motivated.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Saturday, 27 September 2014 07:15 (three years ago) Permalink

A suicide bombing in Grozny killed five police officers yesterday:

http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/752809

Ramzan Kadyrov has his own commemorative coin:

http://i.imgur.com/Gw3Bp8Z.jpg

The Latvian ruling coalition (a mixture of centre-right, agrarian and hard-right parties) won about 60% of the vote in the election last week but the single largest party was broadly pro-Russian 'Harmony', on about 23%. Worth remembering that about 14% of Latvia's population (or 320,000, almost all of them Russian) aren't eligible to vote as 'non-citizens'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-citizens_(Latvia)

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Monday, 6 October 2014 11:37 (three years ago) Permalink

Wow that's a messed up status

, Monday, 6 October 2014 11:44 (three years ago) Permalink

Yes, it's the same in Estonia. Some people prefer it as it allows for easier movement to and from Russia but lots just find the naturalisation process (which requires competency in the absurdly complex Estonian language) too great a barrier. They can live there but have no right to vote.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Monday, 6 October 2014 17:02 (three years ago) Permalink

This is bonkers and already receiving pushback from members of the ruling party.

http://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-could-sack-million-officials-ties-russian-past-231947924.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Saturday, 11 October 2014 19:25 (three years ago) Permalink

Far-right clashing with police / government in Kiev:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-29611588

Tipping point seems to have been the failure of the government to formally recognise the wartime contribution of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army who allied themselves with the Nazis during WW2.

Sure it'll blow over before i'm there on Thursday.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Tuesday, 14 October 2014 13:47 (three years ago) Permalink

oh hey I missed this thread before, bookmarked and thank you!

sleeve, Tuesday, 14 October 2014 15:14 (three years ago) Permalink

Things are perversely quiet at Maidan Nezalezhnosti at the moment. I'm used to it being a hub of activity, commerce and, particularly in the run up to an election, political campaigning but there's nothing much happening now. There are some small shrines to those killed earlier in the year and enormous banners masking the most heavily damaged building proclaiming "long live Ukraine, long live the heroes". You can see where stones and bricks were prised up to use as weapons but there are few other visual signs anything happened.

My hotel doubles as the Ukraine Crisis Briefing Centre though most of the journalists seem to have gone elsewhere now. There are quite a few soldiers in fatigues sitting around outside - presumably back from the East and with nothing much to do now but drink beer and scratch up some money. There are plenty of people 'collecting for the war effort' but most are just using it as a ruse to scam some change.

The campaigning that is going on ahead of the election next week seems really subdued compared to normal. Blok Poroshenko, Timoshenko's group, Svoboda and the National Front are all present but there's very little energy and activity. I'm used to huge tents, lots of noise and lots of people but it's very quiet at the moment. The one huge element missing is the Party Of The Regions, of course.

There's more nationalist kitsch about and some Pravy Sektor graffiti here and there but no sign of the huge far-right presence that was here earlier in the week.

The one really obvious difference from the last time I was here is the sense of economic decline. Lots of shops in the glitzy malls are vacant, the main shopping streets are very quiet and Bessarabsky Rynok looks almost like a normal fruit and veg market. The combination of uncertain incomes and rampant inflation has hit hard. Also fewer adverts for new flats and high-interest savings accounts.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Friday, 17 October 2014 13:11 (three years ago) Permalink

Radek Sikorski apparently told Politico that Putin had offered to partition Ukraine with Poland in a meeting with Donald Tusk in Moscow in 2008.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/20/us-ukraine-crisis-poland-sikorski-idUSKCN0I92A720141020

He's currently backtracking and getting rinsed by his own Prime Minister:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/polands-sikorski-under-fire-over-russia-interview/2014/10/21/d2d4ef24-5932-11e4-9d6c-756a229d8b18_story.html

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Tuesday, 21 October 2014 16:57 (three years ago) Permalink

Looks like the Russia / Ukraine gas deal has stalled. The price has been agreed but Ukraine simply doesn't have any money to pay either outstanding debts or for winter deliveries.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/22/uk-ukraine-crisis-gas-idUKKCN0IA16V20141022

Russia has said the EU should cover immediate costs, the EU isn't particularly keen. I was discussing this with a Ukrainian colleague the other day, someone fully behind the move towards closer ties with Western Europe, and we both came to the conclusion that the EU had vastly understimated how much money it would cost to bring Ukraine out of Russia's orbit. If the intention was to rebuild the country's economic and financial structure to ensure it wasn't predominantly reliant on Russia in the future and could, one day, be a candidate country for membership, there needs to be an international commitment to supporting that with hundreds of billions of Euro. Weaselling out of offering €2bn to keep the lights on this winter isn't a good sign any real effort will be made to follow through on the hints and half promises made earlier in the year. Ultimately, the EU probably can't afford to back Ukraine properly and is justifiably concerned about where a lot of the money would go if it did.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Wednesday, 22 October 2014 06:25 (three years ago) Permalink

"from the southern seas to the Polish lands" amirite guys

intelligent, expressive males within the greater metropolitan (Bananaman Begins), Wednesday, 22 October 2014 10:20 (three years ago) Permalink

sv what do you think of kaspaov

the final twilight of all evaluative standpoints (nakhchivan), Friday, 24 October 2014 21:55 (three years ago) Permalink

*kasparov*

the final twilight of all evaluative standpoints (nakhchivan), Friday, 24 October 2014 21:55 (three years ago) Permalink

Not a fan. I think he's broadly sincere but extremely naive. On paper a lot of his proposals have sounded reasonable in the past but his alignment with US neocons and various dubious oligarchs have always given the impression that he's being used as a palatable front for much more sinister interests. He has become increasingly hysterical in his rhetoric in recent years too. The Other Russia concept of a broad anti-Putin alliance spanning the whole political spectrum was interesting for a while but at this stage he's just an irrelevance playing to a Western gallery. He doesn't even have any real support from Russian liberals. Navalny is a more significant figure these days.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Friday, 24 October 2014 22:18 (three years ago) Permalink

If the exit polls are to be believed, Poroshenko has done much worse than expected and Yatseniuk much better.

БПП (23%), "НАРОДНЫЙ ФРОНТ"(21,3%), "САМОПОМИЧ"(13,2%), ОБ (7,6%), РАДИКАЛЬНАЯ ПАРТИЯ(6,4%), "СВОБОДА"(6,3%), "БАТЬКИВЩИНА"(5,6%) НАЦ ЭП

Real success for the Samopomich party too. Lyashko's Radical Party was polling at around 12% previously, so to see them take only half of that is a relief. Timoshenko polling behind Svoboda looks like total humiliation.

Hopefully this will mean a fairly stable Poroshenko / Yatseniuk coalition that doesn't need to draw support from the further-right.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Sunday, 26 October 2014 18:28 (three years ago) Permalink

Should probably post that in English, really:

БПП (23%) - Blok Petro Poroshenko (centre-right, pro-European, nationalist) - party of the current President.

"НАРОДНЫЙ ФРОНТ"(21,3%)- People's Front (hard-right, pro-European, nationalist) - party of former PM Arseniy Yatseniuk. Previously closer to Poroshenko but turned increasingly to the right as the relationship faltered.

"САМОПОМИЧ"(13,2%) - Samopomich (Christian Conservative, pro-European, nationalist) - effectively a regional party with a lot of supporters in the West of the country. Hanna Hopko, who headed their party list, is one to watch out for in the future, she was very active in the protests and has picked up a lot of attention internationally. Second on the list was Semen Semenchenko who was the head of the anti-separatist Donbass Battalion militia.

ОБ (7,6%) - Opposition Block (conservative, pro-Russian) - disorganised remnant of the Party Of The Regions, previously the largest party in Ukraine.

РАДИКАЛЬНАЯ ПАРТИЯ(6,4%) - Radical Party (far-right, pro-European, nationalist) - wildcard party led by Oleh Lyashko, an antisemitic vigilante nutcase.

"СВОБОДА"(6,3%) - Svoboda (neo-Nazi, nationalist)

"БАТЬКИВЩИНА"(5,6%) - Bat'kivshina (conservative, pro-European, nationalist) - Yulia Timoshenko's party. Seems to have completely collapsed.

Turnout was around 40% nationally, though as low as 16% in Odessa.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Sunday, 26 October 2014 19:11 (three years ago) Permalink

http://i.imgur.com/IfZYfc2.png

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Sunday, 26 October 2014 19:19 (three years ago) Permalink

Anyone interested can keep track of the results as they come in here:

http://www.cvk.gov.ua/pls/vnd2014/wp300pt001f01=910.html

With a third of the vote counted, Yatseniuk's party is actually fractionally in front of Poroshenko's, though to all intents and purposes, it's a dead heat.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Monday, 27 October 2014 08:05 (three years ago) Permalink

good luck ukraine

intelligent, expressive males within the greater metropolitan (Bananaman Begins), Monday, 27 October 2014 10:09 (three years ago) Permalink

Still only 72% of ballots counted but it looks like the proportion of the Fascist vote going to Lyashko was underestimated and Svoboda might just miss the 5% threshold for PR representation as a result. They are at 4.7% at the moment.

Positives, if things stay as they, are would be that between them, the three main parties should be able to form a stable government in the short term. The worst case scenario of Lyashko getting 15% and getting to act as kingmaker has been avoided. Svoboda will probably miss out on PR seats. Timoshenko faces at least a couple of years in the wilderness. There are a few interesting new faces (Mustafa Nayem, Hanna Hopko, etc). Yatseniuk's rep as a safe pair of hands might mean the EU is more likely to open the purse strings if he is PM.

Negatives are zero representation from parties that can credibly be called liberal, progressive or leftist. No parties that can credibly claim to bridge ethnic gap. Only voices for Russian Ukrainians are the dregs of the party run out of town (meaning most had nobody worth voting for, and didn't bother). Nobody to act as a break on the rush to IMF austerity. Approx 14% of the vote for Fascist parties. Two of the six parties explicitly controlled by oligarchs, at least three of the remaining four covertly controlled by them (not sure about Samopomich but wouldn't be surprised). No sign of grass roots politics taking hold.

Despite his recently discovered appreciation of WW2 war criminals, Poroshenko is probably the closest thing to a European moderate and losing so much ground to Yatseniuk isn't good news either.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Monday, 27 October 2014 18:57 (three years ago) Permalink

kinda lol but mostly sad

intelligent, expressive males within the greater metropolitan (Bananaman Begins), Tuesday, 28 October 2014 09:42 (three years ago) Permalink

RT is going to launch a dedicated UK channel this week:

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/oct/28/kremlin-rt-uk-news-channel-russia-today?CMP=twt_gu

Not a huge amount of bespoke programming but they've apparently been spending a lot on recruitment so it's likely to grow. No doubt my dad, who watches it religiously for some reason, will be thrilled. If the price of oil keeps dropping the spending on propaganda might scale back, though.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Wednesday, 29 October 2014 08:16 (three years ago) Permalink

Balkanist has been running some great cultural content recently, particularly about turbofolk in Serbia. They're going to do a horror film supplement for Halloween in the next day or two as well.

http://balkanist.net/

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Wednesday, 29 October 2014 08:39 (three years ago) Permalink

RT is kinda fascinating as a repository of stuff which would otherwise never make it onto television in any semi serious form but is instead lent the authoritative news-channel-sheen. max keiser flatly explaining to russell brand how a newly independent scotland should adopt bitcoin as its currency and there's not even really a hint that there might be another credible view

ogmor, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 14:06 (three years ago) Permalink

RT guy on R4 just now not really doing a good job of selling it

DG, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 16:49 (three years ago) Permalink

rt >>>>> r4

the final twilight of all evaluative standpoints (nakhchivan), Wednesday, 29 October 2014 16:54 (three years ago) Permalink

no, come on, you can't seriously be comparing the craven and mendacious propaganda arm of an authoritarian government with Russia Today ho ho ho

intelligent, expressive males within the greater metropolitan (Bananaman Begins), Wednesday, 29 October 2014 16:58 (three years ago) Permalink

That's what the RT guy said

DG, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 16:59 (three years ago) Permalink

Kyiv's oldest and best cinema, Zhovten, burned down last night in what's thought to have been an arson attack.

http://www.kyivpost.com/content/kyiv/kyivs-oldest-cinema-burns-370001.html

It had been the subject of an ongoing land dispute but the suspicion is that it's linked to the fact it was showing Mario Fanfani's Les Nuits d'Ete as part of an LGBT-friendly film festival.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Thursday, 30 October 2014 08:04 (three years ago) Permalink

cool that ukraine has detached itself from the corrupt, bigoted, authoritarian Russian sphere of influence tho

intelligent, expressive males within the greater metropolitan (Bananaman Begins), Thursday, 30 October 2014 11:08 (three years ago) Permalink

Russia / Ukraine deal on gas has been finalised with the EU acting as guarantor. Someone has come up with $3bn from somewhere to cover old debts and down payment. Means the heating will stay on through the winter, which is great news.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Thursday, 30 October 2014 22:15 (three years ago) Permalink

The number of people who say they'd vote for Putin again if there was an election tomorrow has dipped below 50% for the first time since the Ukraine crisis started - possibly a hint that there are concerns about sanctions hitting the economy.

http://rt.com/politics/200159-putin-rating-september-peskov/

It's still substantially higher than the 26% he was polling earlier in the year and with Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party in second place (with 7%) it's not exactly a sign of greater plurality.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Friday, 31 October 2014 08:17 (three years ago) Permalink

This guy has just been made Chief Of Police in Kyiv

http://i.imgur.com/qtKJFsR.jpg

Note the insignia on his shirt.

http://i.imgur.com/YFYCBLx.jpg

He's Deputy Commander of the neo-Nazi Azov militia.

Neither of the two main parties are Fascist in any meaningful sense but clearly there's a perceived need to pander to the extreme right.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Saturday, 1 November 2014 14:42 (three years ago) Permalink

Reports are coming through suggesting that the suspected Moscow "Grand Theft Auto" killers have been caught.

They were apparently putting spikes on roads late at night and shooting anyone whose cars got stopped by them, for no apparent reason. Nothing was ever stolen. They were thought to have killed at least 14 people in the last few months. It sounds a bit like an urban legend but is supposedly 100% true.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Thursday, 6 November 2014 12:13 (three years ago) Permalink

http://i.imgur.com/O5Jw9hE.png

The Rouble has gone crazy. Was about 50 to the GBP this time last year. Was 71 yesterday, 76 today.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Friday, 7 November 2014 08:15 (three years ago) Permalink

Banks are reportedly running out of foreign currency (as they did in Ukraine months ago) because so many people are trying to take their savings out in Dollars and Euro. If it hasn't happened already, i wouldn't be surprised to see them follow Ukraine in limiting the amount of cash people can take out in a day.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Friday, 7 November 2014 08:18 (three years ago) Permalink

yikes

sleeve, Friday, 7 November 2014 15:01 (three years ago) Permalink

The "ceasefire", which was never really a ceasefire on either side, looks officially over now. Ukraine has claimed separatists in Donetsk have received a resupply of heavy weaponry from Russia and the Ukrainian army has stepped up shelling of the area. ITAR-TASS says that they've hit a kindergarten, killing several children. The Netherlands have donated €500k worth of what are euphemistically in Ukraine called "wearable anti-cold-systems" (which means warm coats and boots without holes in them) but nobody has committed to donating arms yet. There's speculation that the US Republicans might try to force something through, though idk if they would be allowed to even if they wanted to.

Interesting things happening in Georgia. The firing of the Defense Minister has been seen by some, particularly the fired Defense Minister, as a shift away from Europe and towards Russia. The government has restated that EU membership remains a priority though.

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/70781

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Sunday, 9 November 2014 11:16 (three years ago) Permalink

Azerbaijan has shot down an Armenian helicopter that was apparently flying close to the border of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan proper.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Wednesday, 12 November 2014 13:11 (three years ago) Permalink

More on the Armenia / Azeri helicopter thing:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-12/azerbaijan-says-armenian-helicopter-shot-down-in-conflict-zone.html

“This is the worst military incident in more than 20 years since the cease-fire,” Thomas de Waal, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said by e-mail from Washington.

Seen as a continuation of the incidents that killed around 20 people in the summer, that's probably true.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Thursday, 13 November 2014 08:29 (three years ago) Permalink

http://i.imgur.com/k2QHZ7m.png

Not really region-specific but the ability of any currency to drop about 15% in an hour and a quarter when the automated trades are triggered is fairly terrifying. Ukraine keeps ploughing money into trying to stabilise the UAH and the effects last about a week before being totally wiped out. I'm not sure what you can do in that situation.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Thursday, 13 November 2014 08:40 (three years ago) Permalink

what the hell are we playing at then

an uptempo Pop/Hip Hop mentality (imago), Saturday, 18 March 2017 12:59 (eight months ago) Permalink

NATO being NATO. "Showing commitment " to the Baltic states and giving soldiers something to do.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Saturday, 18 March 2017 13:03 (eight months ago) Permalink

shouldn't they be peacekeeping and feeding the starving in somalia or something

an uptempo Pop/Hip Hop mentality (imago), Saturday, 18 March 2017 13:10 (eight months ago) Permalink

here, let me have control of the armed forces

an uptempo Pop/Hip Hop mentality (imago), Saturday, 18 March 2017 13:11 (eight months ago) Permalink

It is unusual that the UK is less than half the population of the Russian Federation and our population has grown by about 3 million more than theirs since the cold war era. If we could just knock a decade or so off avg life expectancy the housing/social care problems would be slightly improved - I'm doing my bit for that cause!

calzino, Saturday, 18 March 2017 13:36 (eight months ago) Permalink

This dude has just been shot dead at a hotel in Kyiv:

http://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-voronenkov-maksakova/28313807.html

This is nuts.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 23 March 2017 10:55 (seven months ago) Permalink

"Thank god! They should have shot him for treason long ago," says Voronenkov's mother-in-law

Ice cold.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 23 March 2017 11:05 (seven months ago) Permalink

http://www.rferl.org/a/russia-soviet-nkvd-greatgranddaughter-seeks-painful-truth/28382571.html

I like the karmic balance of that Great Terror story linked on the same page, the overenthusiastic NKVD officer who makes the mistake of trying to implicate Stalin's fave writer in some bogus Cossack intrigue and ends up getting shot for "violating socialist legality".

calzino, Thursday, 23 March 2017 12:12 (seven months ago) Permalink

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/gunman-in-ukraine-kills-putin-foe-in-attack-denounced-as-state-terrorism/2017/03/23/72ddd20e-0fc7-11e7-ab07-07d9f521f6b5_story.html

Washington Post interviewed Voronenkov Tuesday night:

“For our personal safety, we can’t let them know where we are,” he said toward the end of the hour-long interview. “It’s a totally amoral system and in its anger it may go to extreme measures. There’s been a demonization of us. It’s hard to say what will happen.

“The system has lost its mind,” he added. “They say we are traitors in Russia. And I say, ‘Who did we betray?’ I gave testimony against the citizen of another country who was president, who fled his country, created a bloodbath, betrayed his country.”

As he left the interview, he added: “It’s hard to imagine we will be forgiven.”

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 23 March 2017 15:37 (seven months ago) Permalink

The guy who shot him died a couple of hours ago in hospital. It's rumoured that he's an ex Ukrainian National Guard soldier but that wouldn't tell us anything, if true. Hired killers often have a service background.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 23 March 2017 19:45 (seven months ago) Permalink

Died from what?

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 23 March 2017 19:53 (seven months ago) Permalink

He was shot by Voronenkov's bodyguard during the attack.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 23 March 2017 19:54 (seven months ago) Permalink

What happened to the bodyguard?

an uptempo Pop/Hip Hop mentality (imago), Thursday, 23 March 2017 19:58 (seven months ago) Permalink

He is fine, apparently. Was wounded but only lightly.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 23 March 2017 20:26 (seven months ago) Permalink

Seems more or less confirmed that the killer was ex-Ukrainian army now. The Kyiv police chief says they are working under the assumption it was a contract killing.

Separately, this is interesting:

http://www.rferl.org/a/former-ukraine-finance-minister-jaresko-to-manage-puerto-rico-financial-crisis/28387912.html

Natalie Jaresko, the former Ukrainian finance minister has been appointed by the US to overhaul Puerto Rico's budget. Expect lots of privatisation and cuts to services / pensions.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Friday, 24 March 2017 07:20 (seven months ago) Permalink

Local media and the nationalist MP Oleh Lyashko are claiming the killer was a member of the far-right / ultranationalist Azov battalion but again that doesn't shed much light on whether there was a nationalist motive, he was a hired gun or, as the eccentric Interior Minister claims, he was a Russian government plant in the Ukrainian militia. Hired gun is substantially more likely than anything else.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Friday, 24 March 2017 09:51 (seven months ago) Permalink

The big news over the last few days has been the Navalny protests centred around Medvedev. The numbers are still low - 10k-15k in Moscow - but for the first time they have been coordinated across the country in places as diverse as Tomsk and Makhachkala, adding up to an estimated 60k people nationwide. There is a profile of him here:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-03-28/inside-alexei-navalny-s-long-shot-bid-to-beat-putin

He is still probably barred from standing for election but there is speculation that this might be reversed and that it could be better for him to stand and be defeated.

With perfect timing, Nadia Savchenko has given a pretty good reminder of why pinning your political hopes on unpredictable nationalists to fight oligarchy might not be the best idea. She is the Ukrainian pilot who was jailed in Russia, released to a hero's welcome, courted by politicians and hyped as a potential president by the western press.

In a phone-in, she agreed with a caller who claimed Ukraine was under 'the Jewish yoke' and she used it as a springboard for an antisemitic rant about how Jews have 80% of the power in Ukraine and she "doesn't like yids". This will hopefully be the end of the puff pieces about her but it's another depressing reminder that there are no easy saviours waiting in the wings.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 10:02 (seven months ago) Permalink

Jesus that's messed up.

how's life, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 11:57 (seven months ago) Permalink

At least 10 people killed in two separate bomb attacks on the St Petersburg metro.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Monday, 3 April 2017 12:27 (seven months ago) Permalink

Reports that it could be three.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Monday, 3 April 2017 12:29 (seven months ago) Permalink

Seeing just one now.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 3 April 2017 14:01 (seven months ago) Permalink

Yes, there has been discussion of two devices that didn't explode but i think some of the confusion was initially caused by the practice of interchange stations having two names.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Monday, 3 April 2017 14:25 (seven months ago) Permalink

Poot is in StP to give a speech

Supercreditor (Dr Morbius), Monday, 3 April 2017 16:40 (seven months ago) Permalink

By ANDREW E. KRAMER
APRIL 1, 2017
MOSCOW — First, two television reporters vanished. Then a waiter went missing. Over the past week, men ranging in age from 16 to 50 have disappeared from the streets of Chechnya.

On Saturday, a leading Russian opposition newspaper confirmed a story already circulating among human rights activists: The Chechen authorities were arresting and killing gay men.

While abuses by security services in the region, where Russia fought a two-decade war against Islamic insurgents, have long been a stain on President Vladimir V. Putin’s human rights record, gay people had not previously been targeted on a wide scale.

The men were detained “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such,” the newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, reported, citing Russian federal law enforcement officials, who blamed the local authorities.

By Saturday, the paper reported, and an analyst of the region with her own sources confirmed, that more than 100 gay men had been detained. The newspaper had the names of three murder victims, and suspected many others had died in extrajudicial killings.

A spokesman for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, denied the report in a statement to Interfax on Saturday, calling the article “absolute lies and disinformation.”

“You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” the spokesman, Alvi Karimov, told the news agency.

“If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return,” Mr. Karimov said.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 3 April 2017 21:24 (seven months ago) Permalink

Yeah this is a horrible situation. Even if the details aren't entirely clear, dozens of people definitely seem to have been arrested despite no legal grounds for doing so and there are credible reports of assault/ torture, at the least, which reinforce the idea that Chechnya is a law unto itself.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Monday, 3 April 2017 21:35 (seven months ago) Permalink

The spokesman's quote is one of the most chilling things I've ever heard.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 3 April 2017 21:37 (seven months ago) Permalink

It is such a brazen admission of murderous intent, it seems quite shocking even by Kadyrov regime standards.

calzino, Monday, 3 April 2017 21:51 (seven months ago) Permalink

Long piece by Oliver Bullough on Ukraine, the UK, Yanukovich, Poroshenko, corruption, Panama papers, Hunter Biden, the Atlantic Council and more is worth a read:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/12/the-money-machine-how-a-high-profile-corruption-investigation-fell-apart

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Wednesday, 12 April 2017 12:03 (seven months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Reports are coming through suggesting that the suspected Moscow "Grand Theft Auto" killers have been caught.
They were apparently putting spikes on roads late at night and shooting anyone whose cars got stopped by them, for no apparent reason. Nothing was ever stolen. They were thought to have killed at least 14 people in the last few months. It sounds a bit like an urban legend but is supposedly 100% true.

..........

This gets stranger. The police appear to have arrested a gang of 'Islamist terrorists' from Central Asia for the crimes, with the leader being killed during an attempt to take him in.

Quite why a terror cell would have done all this and not bothered to tell anyone hasn't been explained.

― Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Thursday, 13 November 2014 13:59 (two years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

!!!!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/01/three-moscow-grand-theft-auto-gang-suspects-shot-dead-trying-to-flee-court

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Tuesday, 1 August 2017 18:26 (three months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Ukraine revoked Misha Saakashvili's passport a few weeks ago and, to much mockery, has been beefing up border security with Poland in case he tries to get back in. He has, according to reports, literally just run through the line of border guards and broken back in. This is completely ridiculous/ amazing.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Sunday, 10 September 2017 18:04 (two months ago) Permalink

I heard that. He's stateless now isn't he?

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 10 September 2017 18:05 (two months ago) Permalink

Yes. He says that Ukraine revoked his passport illegally, they say he lied on his application for citizenship and that he failed to disclose he was under criminal investigation- which, tbh, everyone always knew.

He had to give up Georgian citizenship to take a place in the Ukrainian government. I assume he will be American before too long.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Sunday, 10 September 2017 21:05 (two months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Aargh. A Krasnodar couple in their mid-thirties have apparently been arrested for killing and eating dozens of people over the course of twenty years.

The man lost his phone - which someone found and took to the police when they saw it had selfies of him posing with body parts.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Monday, 25 September 2017 16:57 (one month ago) Permalink

Amazing reporting on the battle over a Kazakh oligarch's assets / the spies and counter spies brought in to fight it

https://amp.ft.com/content/1411b1a0-a310-11e7-9e4f-7f5e6a7c98a2

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 28 September 2017 06:53 (one month ago) Permalink

hey shari can you shed more light on the krasnodar killers? my bf does a murder podcast this’d be nice for

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Thursday, 28 September 2017 07:39 (one month ago) Permalink

(apologies if it’s too soon and thus in bad taste)

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Thursday, 28 September 2017 07:40 (one month ago) Permalink

Honestly, i don't think a lot more has come out yet, in terms of official statements. The main report was from a Russian site called Mash and most of the Western coverage has been, more or less, a verbatim translation. The only apparently developments are that the woman has been determined to be mentally competent and they have confessed to killing 30 people. The investigators are currently going through their freezer to determine how much of the meat is human.

The local tabloids have suggested that Nataliya had previously been a nurse but had been applying for jobs as a cook at local bistros (thankfully unsuccessfully). The man (Dmitry) is apparently an orphan who was adopted at the age of three - which i imagine will lead to speculation about the link between lack of affection in early years and psychopathy. Again, this is all from the tabloids to take it with a pinch of salt but the adoptive parents apparently had a biological child four years later and paid less attention to Dimitry. His adoptive mother died when he was fifteen and his father kicked him out of the house - around the same time he took up with Nataliya (who would have been in her early twenties). They're both described as heavy drinkers and it's thought that a lot of their victims would have been people they drank with.

What's the podcast btw?

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 28 September 2017 08:01 (one month ago) Permalink

it’s called Bloody Murder, and thanks that’s an effed up sounding story!

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Thursday, 28 September 2017 20:53 (one month ago) Permalink

Ha I just mentioned this to my podcast friends and one was all "oh yeah I already heard about this" - its all over the news!

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Friday, 29 September 2017 05:26 (one month ago) Permalink

I'll definitely give the podcast a listen.

In other true crime news, Newsweek has a report on the Grand Theft Auto killings around Moscow:

http://www.newsweek.com/2017/10/06/death-russia-grand-theft-auto-killers-moscow-notorious-gang-673110.html

They're still a complete mystery - a series of terrorist attacks with no attempt at communicating a public message vs a series of robberies in which nothing was stolen vs something else entirely.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Friday, 29 September 2017 07:40 (one month ago) Permalink

i've been enjoying The Putin Interviews on Showtime. that was cool to see him and Oliver Stone watch "Dr. Strangelove" together in part 2.

afterward Stone gifts the DVD to him but as they are departing Putin turns to the camera to reveal the DVD case was empty and jokes "Typical American gift". lol

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 29 September 2017 22:00 (one month ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Russian opposition figures say Ksenia Sobchak’s presidential bid is a Kremlin-organized sham.

Any thoughts on this 3d chess theory, SV?

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 19 October 2017 09:59 (four weeks ago) Permalink

I think Sobchak is probably entirely sincere and is an 'opposition figure' of sorts but it plays into the Kremlin's hands. She generally appears out of her depth in political interviews and represents everything the bulk of the country tends to resent about 'liberal' figures - ultra-rich jet-setting Muscovite, links to the corruption and chaos of the 90s, perception of snobbery, etc. The reason Navalny has been relatively successful is that he represents, for better or for worse, a break from that.

The nature of the presidential election process means that left-field candidates pretty much need the support of established political infrastructure to generate the 300,000 signatures required to be in the running and there's a strong suspicion that United Russia will help Sobchak along with that. I don't think it's a fix, as such, but it couldn't really be much better for Putin if it was.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 19 October 2017 10:58 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Thanks. Could fathom why they offed Navalny like they did for obvious reasons, I cannot imagine they see Sobchak as a threat, and if anything, could (ab)use her to show they do allow opponents, they are a democracy etc. Especially in the light of the recent Navalny trial condemnations from the EU. Sobchak could be a perfect "See? She's running and we're not stopping here innit? Nothing to see here" candidate that will never amass an amount of votes that would mean something.

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 19 October 2017 17:53 (four weeks ago) Permalink

She is following a pretty familiar path - it was Prokhorov last time.

It’s a shame as the grass roots liberal / centre left parties made a pretty good showing at the local elections (albeit mostly in Moscow and on a tiny turnout) by engaging with communities, using the internet to ensure that voters were aware of issues and who their candidates were, etc. There was a sense that, at least to some degree, they were figuring out some quasi-effective strategies, as limited as their reach may have been. Sobchak tanks that by having no platform and offering no reason to vote for her other than as a vote against *whoever it may be* that is backed by United Russia.

I can understand why people are suspicious but never underestimate the egotism and general cluelessness of the kind of ‘liberal’ figures with the money and standing to make a challenge at the moment.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Thursday, 19 October 2017 18:09 (four weeks ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

This is an obvious, blatant attack on the freedom of the press in the US.

Of course the US government is not forcing state media outlets from allied countries to register as foreign agents.

This is a dangerous precedent meant to silent critical media. https://t.co/ot9wBB5oRs

— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 9, 2017

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Friday, 10 November 2017 18:10 (one week ago) Permalink

The implications for RT are probably quite minimal in reality - they can play the victim in the short term and possibly win a humiliating court case in the longer term.

The real impact is the 99.5% probably that Russia is going to extend its own foreign agent laws to the international media in retaliation - which is likely to mean RFE/RL, Radio Svoboda, etc journalists kicked out of the country or, at the very least, under pressure to disclose every contact they make to the government under pain of arrest.

It’s a terrible move for the US to make and will end up hitting state-funded American reporters hardest.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Friday, 10 November 2017 18:39 (one week ago) Permalink


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